Are Wooden Worktops Any Good? – 5 Reasons They Might Not Be

When it comes to designing your dream kitchen, wooden worktops may be your first choice.

And who can blame you? – The classic French and Tuscan designs of old-fashioned kitchens truly are breathtaking and timeless.

However, if you’re more of a practical, hands-on cook, they may not be the best option for you. 

While having a solid wood kitchen worktop might be a stylish choice, it may not be the right one for you and your family.

 If you are a passionate cook, you’ll want to make sure that your kitchen works for you, in terms of functionality. It has to be a two-way creative relationship!

We’ve looked at five factors you should consider before making the decision to get wooden kitchen worktops. Read on and find out the reasons why they may not be the best idea for someone who spends a lot of time in the kitchen. 

1. Practical Imitations of Wooden Worktops

From an aesthetic point of view, wooden countertops are certainly tempting. Wooden worktops are versatile and come in loads of styles, colors, and textures.

However, there are several practical drawbacks you’ll need to consider designing your space. 

Wooden worktops may not be the best idea for the kitchen for the following reasons. 

They Easily Reveal Burn Marks From Hot Pans

If you run a busy kitchen or have a big family, it’s good to consider that you run a higher risk of burning the surface of a wooden worktop.

Wood traps heat very effectively, which is why hot pots and pans can cause the surface underneath them to burn. 

Scorch marks will leave dark spots wherever the burn occurs. If you like a clean-looking work surface, then you need to take extra care to not place anything hot on top of them that could cause them to burn.

This is a rather difficult task in a busy family kitchen. If you find yourself in this situation, you may want to consider an alternative surface for your kitchen worktops. 

They Expose Knife Marks if You Don’t Use a Chopping Board

It’s also really easy to accidentally mark a wooden kitchen worktop with a knife when chopping up ingredients. Knives can cause scratch marks on the surface which make the surface look uneven and worn. 

Food leftovers may also become trapped in the scratch marks, making the surface increasingly hard to clean if you don’t take care of the scratches in a timely manner.

Food and moisture buildup can lead to an increase in bacteria on your wooden surfaces. 

Obviously, you can avoid scratch marks by using a chopping board, but sometimes kids forget to if they’re just making something simple like a sandwich, or slicing an apple. A busy kitchen is great, but accidents do happen! 

They Absorb Stains

Spillages happen in hectic kitchens all the time, which is why wooden worktops are not the best choice for a busy household.

Liquids with a lot of color in them like red wine and various juices can leave a stain on certain wooden worktops.

Any liquids that contain a deep color can easily stain wooden surfaces if you leave them alone for a long time. Stains can be a pain to get rid of especially if the liquid seeps into the wood. 

” So, to avoid a long-term memento from clumsy accidents, you will need to wipe up spilled down liquids on a wooden surface, right away.

They Are Prone to Water Damage

Wood is also a naturally absorbent material that can trap water if a large quantity of moisture is left on the surface for a while. The wood will soak the water up, leading to water damage such as warping. 

Water damage can also lead to other more serious issues such as mold.

If your children accidentally spill something on the counters and don’t clean it up or forget to tell you, then this may lead to water damage.

Wooden Worktops Are Not Fireproof 

Like many chefs, you are likely more of a fan of gas stoves than electric ones. We’d agree strongly with this. Plus, you’ll save on your energy bill.

However, if you have a gas stove and a wooden kitchen worktop, the risk of fire obviously goes up. 

2. You Need to Make Sure They Remain Hygienic  

If you maintain your wooden kitchen worktop well, then they can be a great addition to your kitchen from a hygiene perspective.

Wood has naturally occurring antibacterial characteristics. A good organic oil will help seal the wood, meaning that it will repel germs easily. 

However, if you’re looking for a low maintenance option, and don’t think you’ll have the time to re-oil or reseal your wooden surface on a regular basis, then wooden kitchen worktops will not be the right decision for you. 

As we’ve mentioned above, scratches and indentations, occur easily in a busy kitchen. If you have a wooded wok top with a rough surface, it makes it easier for bacteria to hide because of the grooves in the wood. 

Like with any surface, you can thoroughly clean a surface so that it does not become a massive health risk to yourself and your family. However, the more vigorously you clean a wooden kitchen countertop, the sooner it will need to be sanded down and resealed. 

Again, if you don’t have the time for this level of maintenance, it’s probably best to consider an alternative work surface to solid wood. 

3. There Are Several Things to Consider When Installing a Wooden Worktop

As wood is easily cut to any shape and size, physically, it’s easy-to-install material. A wooden countertop can be altered to fit almost any space at any angle.

However, there are steps to take to ensure that the wooden worktop does not cause damage to the rest of the space. 

Because wood is susceptible to the effects of humidity as well as heat, it can expand and contract as the season change throughout the year. Therefore, kitchen fitters should be aware that they have to leave a little space between the edge of the worktop and the walls that surround it. 

The gap does not need to be bigger than 5 mm; however, you’ll have to cover these gaps with silicone or skirting boards to stop anything slipping down the gaps. 

You’ll also need to install wooden worktops with heat-resistant barriers, especially where the wood surrounds heat-generating appliances.

Wooden worktops that are installed directly next to ovens and stoves should be thoroughly protected to reduce the risk of a kitchen fire. 

4. Wooden Work Tops Wear and Chip Easily If Not Looked After

If you look after wooden worktops properly, they are actually incredibly durable. However, maintenance can be quite time-consuming.

Experts recommend that you re-oil countertops every 6 months so that they remain smooth. 

Maintaining a wooden worktop means you will get many years of use out of it, but it’s a matter of whether you have the time to do so.

You also need to remember that every time you use your wooden worktop, you wear it down slightly. 

Some owners neglect their wooden worktops, so splintering occurs and the surface becomes increasingly unusable. If you can’t maintain wooden worktops correctly, you should consider something less care-intensive. 

5. Wooden Worktops Are High Maintenance

Yes! Unlike other worktop materials, you cannot simply wipe the counter down and be done with it.

You have to take care of any damage to wooden countertops and ensure they are maintained to reduce the risks of water damage and mass bacteria buildup. 

Traditionally, specialized kitchen worktops made out of wood come into your home with pretreatment. This will usually last a few months, and it could be up to six months before you have to worry about retreating the wood. 

However, to maintain a wooden worktop correctly, you need to follow a few steps to ensure its well-being.

If you don’t have the time for this then it may be worth taking a look at some other alternatives. 


Sealing is typically done using special oil. The oil treats the surface of the wood, and gives its waterproof properties, and protects the surface against bacteria.

The sealing treatment can also help hide scratches and other minor damages to the surface of the wooden worktop. 

There are several waterproofing sealants on the market. Usually, a simple surface varnish will also do the job.

The best option is to contact experts to take care of any biannual maintenance you may need to perform on a wooden kitchen countertop.

Frequent Cleaning with Soap and Water 

You need to clean wooden worktops thoroughly and regularly. If there is any remaining grease and grime left on the surface for a long period of time after cooking, you may have problems with grease stains. 

As we’ve mentioned, leaving food particles for too long may also lead to excessive buildup of bacteria, especially if the surface is uneven, either purposefully or because of knife scratches. 

To thoroughly clean a wooden worktop surface, you need to wipe it down with a damp cloth that contains a bit of antibacterial soap.

Dishwashing liquid usually does the trick! The damp cloth should also be soaked using warm water to alleviate any grease. 

After you’ve used the lightly soaped cloth, you’ll need to go over the surface again with another damp cloth, without any soap. This will rinse the wooden worktop and ensure the soap does not cause any damage. 

We’ll say it again, wooden worktops are particularly susceptible to water damage. Therefore, when you clean the surface, you have to make sure you don’t use too much water.

Using excessive water may lead to warping and mold if you leave the surface too wet for too long. 

Sanding Down Imperfections

Wear and tear such as scratch and scorch marks can be removed by lightly sanding down the damaged area. These minor damages will not affect much more of the wood than the surface that you work on. 

After sanding, you’ll need to apply sealing agents as discussed previously.

You should always consult professionals and refrain from sanding down your own wooden worktop. Experts in their trade will have the correct tools to ensure our worktop looks as good as new! 

Great Alternatives to Wooden Kitchen Worktops

After reading this post, you may be thinking that a wooden worktop is not quite for you. If this is the case, fear not! There are some stunning alternatives on the market that will bring just as much aesthetic appeal to your kitchen.  

Most experts recommend laminate as an alternative to wood. You can get almost any material look-alike in a laminate format. Laminate is also easy to clean and low maintenance.’ 

If the more luxurious material appeals to you, you should definitely consider stone tops, marble, or granite. These materials will bring a beautiful natural look to your kitchen, and they are incredibly durable. 

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Steve Foster

Suburbanite, tech geek, handy man, automation enthusiast who started blogging about the stuff I do around my home and found he had a knack for it.

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